Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blog Blast Past: The Drunken Idiot's Guide To Blue Jays Baseball

At the Blue Jays game last night, two women were ejected for throwing cups of beer at Tampa Bay Rays centrefielder B.J. Upton while he was catching a fly ball in the eighth inning. Fan decorum, or lack thereof, has been a recurring problem at Rogers Centre, as Hughsy wrote about back on April 7.

Hey Jays fans? How'd you enjoy the game last night? Good? Yeah, 12-5 win over the Tigers and everybody in the line-up got at least a hit. Too bad we once again proved why many Toronto sports fans know no better than to display idiotic, embarrassing behaviour. Yes, I'm being self-righteous, but I don't care anymore. For every one smart, reasonable and measured Jays fan, there now seems to be 10 drunken morons at a Jays game. It's time to stand up against them.

It's all over the blogosphere and some of the MSM today -- last night, there was a delay of game when Jays fans threw debris at the Tigers' Josh Anderson in-game.

While it's easy and entirely justified to call out Toronto sports fans for a lot of reasons -- Leaf Nation's zombie-like adherence to sub-par Leaf teams, the small minority of upper-middle-class frat boys that ruin things for Toronto FC's fan base, the strange, affected attitude Toronto has towards the Raptors to name a few -- there's no other place where the collective lunacy of Toronto sports fans gets noxious than at a Jays game.

I can deal with the stupidity of the "wave" that seems to be part and parcel of every single Jays game. I can even deal with the occasional fight (although they seem to be happening more and more at the Rogers Centre) in the 500-level. But throwing crap onto the field and interrupting the game is going too far.

While I live in Toronto and appreciate aspects of this city, there's a lot about Toronto that's lame and bad -- our sports culture in particular. While we collectively suck the teat of MLSE and the crappy product put on the ice, forking millions of dollars over to a corporation that cares little to nothing about the product's quality, we're the most fair-weather fans in the world when it comes to our other sports. Only when it's cool and trendy to show up to a Big Event like last night do Torontonians show their civic and sports pride, but it's just gone too far.

This is the last straw.

Must the Rogers Centre post uniformed Toronto police officers at every section entrance now? Must the Rogers Centre resort to what the Tigers (talk about irony) had to do post-World Series win in 1984 and ban regular beer? Must we put up barriers across the 100 and 200 sections at the Rogers Centre to block people from throwing debris?

I'm only one man, I know. I can't inspire any movement just by myself. But it's time to show your frustration with the way things are at the Rogers Centre. The drunken idiot quotient is too high and it's time to let the Rogers Centre, Blue Jays and anyone else involved that we're angry and fed up with not being able to enjoy a Jays game in peace.

Down With The Douchebags.


Pension Plan Puppets said...

While we collectively suck the teat of MLSE and the crappy product put on the ice, forking millions of dollars over to a corporation that cares little to nothing about the product's quality,

Good post but not sure it needed the useless jab at loyal Leaf fans.

It's definitely unfortunate that there is a puny portion of TFC fans that think that because people stand and make noise all game that they can throw beers on the field. One idiot at the home opener actually pegged one of TFC's substitutes.

And it would be nice if the traditional media started demonizing the small minority of Jays fans that can't hold their booze in the same way. There should definitely be more done to keep these clowns from ruining the game for everyone else.

eyebleaf said...

I was drunk, but on my best behavior. I was in the 200 section. Even I can't deal with the douchebaggery up top in the 500s.

Down With The Douchebags!

That should be on a t-shirt.

kinger said...

I don't think anyone's in favour of the drunken idiots beyond their own immensely small minority. So what is the bulk of Jays fans supposed to do in order to "stand up" against them?

Really, the Rog should have actual security, not completely untrained, confused, and undersized ushers, to keep the peace. You don't need police at every entrance, just some form of security presence.

Gotta love as well this logic that the home opener made clear how we need to ban beer sales for game 2 - because clearly all of these drunken idiots were doing so off of $10 beer and only $10 beer.

I'd go on about how Toronto SC has made it look like throwing crap on the field "adds to the atmosphere" but I don't want the soccerheads to throw another hissy fit.

Greg said...


The fact the Rogers Centre and many fans merely tolerate these drunken idiots through saying and doing nothing shows we're tacitly endorsing the behaviour. And it's definitely not a 'small minority' of people. Sorry, you're wrong. All that time you've spent outside Toronto hasn't made you wiser to the reality of what goes at a Jays game.

And I never said ban beer sales. I said as a theoretical option going to light beer sales only to send a clear message. People sneak in booze to the Rogers Centre or get drunk beforehand all the time, but a considerable number get loaded off that $10 beer. There's a lot of morons willing to spend that kind of money there.

God, you are the most black-and-white thinker I've dealt with since Queen's, you know that?

kinger said...

And I thought Doug Springer was thin-skinned.

For your information, I've been to plenty of Jays games since moving out of Toronto. And it doesn't exactly jive for you to say "sorry, you're wrong," and then accuse me of being a black-and-white thinker.

The Dome does not tolerate these folks. When they can, they eject them. The problem is that they don't have the security staff actively patrolling the trouble spots. In saying they should beef up security, I'm actually agreeing with you... but for whatever bizarre reason you're determined to try and argue with me by making things up.

When you say fans put up with it, what on earth are you suggesting the fans do? They're there to watch a baseball game, not become vigilantes seeking justice for the good and true by enacting citizens' arrests on the drunks.

Also, I never said you said to ban beer sales. It was an observation about that point being made on a variety of blogs. Not everything is about you.

And since you're clearly aware of the personality of the entire 48,000 strong crowd at the home opener, would you care to tell me what percentage were drunken idiots? If it's not a small minority that's one heck of a large contingent. I don't think I saw 10,000 paper airplanes on the field.

Greg said...


Not thin-skinned, just found what you were saying there a bit strange.

I can't make any generalized notions about what the collective personality of 48,000+ people is on any given day, but it's not just about throwing paper airplanes or baseballs onto the field. It's about how there seems to be a growing contingent of drunken yahoos who show no regard towards others in the stands.

I'm aware it's not 'all about me' so perhaps you should post some links then when making your argument about something or reference these 'other blogs' instead of discussing a line I wrote in the blog entry. It's only logical, as you put it, for me to assume you were talking about what I wrote.

And by what the fans can do: stop going to games. Set up petitions online. Start Facebook groups. Get up out of your seat and call security. Don't be Canadian nice about it. Get assertive. I don't know where I ever suggested for vigilantism.

I'm at least glad we agree on one thing about beefed up security.

sager said...

Another suggestion: Let's go around spray-painting "Obey the rules" on the sides of buildings like in the movie Canadian Graffiti

Zero tolerance means zero thought. Honestly, Greg, I love you like a brother, but this sounds reminiscent of Eddie Greenspan being a crybaby suckyface after the first Bills in Toronto series game. He was afraid of Toronto looking bad, translation, but it came of like he was afraid he looked bad.

There is no denying that it can be raucous on Jays Opening Day and has been since about 2005. It has very little to do with baseball. It is not unheard of, especially in northern cities, for people to get drunk and stupid at the first ball game because they have lot of latest hostilities which have been stored up all winter.

It used to be a fact of life in at the old Comiskey Park in Chicago that they would have huge brawls in the stands on Opening Day. AJ Daulerio wrote an essay on Deadspin about how Opening Day at the Vet in Philly was pretty much an occasion for high school kids to get high school stupid-drunk.

Honestly, the douchebags are those who are mortified by this.

The only people who are mortified by this are the milquetoasts who love Toronto being bland and inoffensive. It's an issue if there's public property being destroyed, but god, a few paper airplanes were thrown and some idiot threw a baseball.

People are overreacting, period. I say this is what happens in a society where everything's sanitized and people feel like they're an outcast if they screw up once, so they just act out more and more.

Down with the Douchebags? That applies more to the hand-wringers than anyone else. God, let's live a little.

Greg said...


I'm definitely not advocating people sitting on their hands, being Toronto The Good and polite.

There's a profound difference between being supportive and cheering loudly for your team and throwing crap onto the field. You can be even aggressive about your support of the Jays and not bland. But throwing stuff onto a field, disrupting other people's good time and throwing beer, popcorn and other crap at people isn't cool. I didn't pay my good money to go to a game where I'd get harassed.

But let's say, for a moment, your approach is maybe correct: we should tolerate and accept all this. Fine. I can hold my own in situations like these. But there's an awful lot of people who can't and won't. Just saying that there's a lot of less hard-core and more casual fans who would much rather put their money towards things that actually don't involve getting hit with beer cups or having booze poured on them. More entertainment options means, quite honestly, I expect to invest my money in things that involve me enjoying myself. And there's a lot of people who would agree.

And the latent hostilities line? Jeez Neate, with that kind of logic you can rationalize just about anything young, aggressive young guys do. Must be nice to have that moral vantage point.

This whole permissive, whatever-is-should-be approach isn't helping the sport or encouraging new fans.

You can call it milquetoast or being concerned with outside perceptions of Toronto, but it's not even about that. It's about respect and recognizing that we're all there, mostly on our own dime, to enjoy the game and have fun.

Anonymous said...

If you can be sh!t-faced in a crowd and no one but your drinking partners know it, that's fine. But if everyone in your section knows it, you're a loser. Whether you're underage, in your 20s, 60s, whatever - you're a loser. Throwing paper airplanes (whee!) at baseball games or streamers at soccer games (look at me, lads!) simply makes you an even more pathetic loser.

That's not taking some sanitized, buzzkill view of the world; that's adulthood. And if you're old enough to drink, you're an adult.

kinger said...

I still don't get how the yahoos aren't a small minority.

As for the idea of not going to games... I'm pretty sure most Torontonians already do that.

Need I even begin to point out why starting a facebook group is a silly, ineffective idea? That's right up there with wearing black t-shirts at a soccer game and thinking it'll affect anyone's decision-making.


Rob Pettapiece said...

Man, I really don't like agreeing with Tyler, but I just did.

Starting a Facebook group is not really "assertive" but maybe that's replaced "write polite letters" in the Canadian Levels of Angry.

Frankly, the best outcome, from a getting-rid-of-drunk-morons point of view, was if Leyland got the umpires to call the game. You think the Jays won't "beef up security" after being forced to forfeit the game?

Rob Pettapiece said...

Sorry, I also don't understand how this:

"For every one smart, reasonable and measured Jays fan, there now seems to be ten drunken morons at a Jays game"

jives with:

"the small minority of upper-middle-class frat boys that ruin things for Toronto FC's fan base"

Why do TFC fans get the benefit of the doubt, but the same courtesy isn't extended to the baseball team? (I haven't been to a game at BMO, so that may explain my confusion, but I've been to Saputo and nobody seemed unreasonable there.)

kinger said...

Because MLS is the beautiful, new, hip, trendy sport that nobody outside of its nerdy faithful watches, whilst baseball is actually popular, and thus the games are filled with comformists who must be stereotyped.

kinger said...

By the way, Neate's comment about the milquetoast desire to make Toronto bland reminded me of the standup comedian's joke about the difference between Montreal and Toronto:

"Imagine two brothers. One's a womanizing alcoholic. And the other's an accountant."

Pension Plan Puppets said...

I love how Kinger always has to jump in and slam TFC for being new and having passionate fans.

When TFC's been around as long as the Jays (or if they make it that far) we'll see which is more watched.

And baseball is popular? You could have fooled me. Opening Day is popular, games that get the stadium filled with Red Sox and Yankee fans are popular, and that's about it these days.

That was a good joke though.

kinger said...

I love how a legitimately good blog knows who I am!

TSC has had plenty of time to gain any kind of television following and it hasn't. Baseball, in both an attendance sense, and a media sense, is more popular. More people pay attention to it. Compared to the late 90s it's popular well beyond the Sox and Yanks games.

I'll admit that that's not exactly a fair comparison because the Jays are at the highest level of their sport, and MLS is nothing close to that; but listening to the Toronto media you wouldn't know that.

sager said...

Colbert's writers coined that with the word "solitarity."

kinger said...

And to bring it back to the facebook group issue, another Colbert gem: "Slacktivism".

Yes Im Peter Ing said...


You’ve made a few swipes at TFC, so I’ll address them one by one.

“I'd go on about how Toronto SC has made it look like throwing crap on the field "adds to the atmosphere" but I don't want the soccerheads to throw another hissy fit.”

Are you suggesting that the actions of the yob contingent at the Jays opener was somehow influenced by what goes on at BMO? This pattern of drunken, reckless behaviour stretches back to before TFC was even in existence. My first recollection is from 2006, and the hail storm of magnet schedules.

I also think there’s a difference between the actions of most TFC fans and what we saw at the Dome on Monday. While there is a portion of fans at BMO who simply cannot handle their liquor and resort to reckless behaviour merely for the sake of it, the majority of fans who throw things onto the field are doing so in the context of the match. This may mean throwing streamers in an attempt to gain TFC an advantage by distracting opposition players on corner kicks or by increasing their own presence in the stadium in order to up the element of support or, less likely, intimidation. It may also mean chucking beers or sausages at incompetent referees or opposition players who go down on a phantom foul. In the latter case, it’s clearly not justified and needs to be stamped out. In the former, the argument can be made that merely allowing for the use of streamers indirectly puts the idea into fans’ minds that throwing other objects is OK. But in both instances, while not justifiable, the actions are at least those of concerned spectators.

What goes on at the Dome has nothing to do with the game. This was made painfully clear on Monday when the tossing of paper planes and, in two instances, baseballs nearly cost the Jays what at that point was a sure-fire victory. Whatever you think of TFC fans’ use of streamers to add to the atmosphere (and we’re all aware of what you think), Monday’s actions were in no way related. The throwing of objects in both instances needs to be eliminated, but pointing out the idiocy of what went on at the Dome is not all of a sudden going to shed some damning light on the practices at BMO.

And don’t tell me that you weren’t looking for a response. If you truly were shy about attracting the ire of “soccerheads”, you would have left the jab at TFC supporters out. You’ve done this twice now where you dangle flame bait in front of those with an interest in the game, and then hide behind the old “now watch the goofs attack me, illustrating just how goofy they are” play. Your posts on MLS are written with instigation in mind. And really, that’s fine. But don’t be disingenuous and try to hijack discussion by trying to undercut the credibility of anyone who takes you up your attacks simply because they dare to contest your claims.

“That's right up there with wearing black t-shirts at a soccer game and thinking it'll affect anyone's decision-making.”

Not directly, no. But it has set the wheels in motion, namely by spreading awareness. In the lead-up to the All-star Game, there were few instances of media coverage that failed to make mention of the protest, some even providing context and background information. The general public, whether they cared about soccer or not, now know there are soccer fans in this country who take issue with the way the CSA operates. There are also a good many more casual soccer fans in this city who have become aware of the inadequacies of the CSA model, and have joined in the push to force some sort of change. The protest also created momentum within Canadian soccer ranks, specifically amongst the players. More national team members are speaking out, and while this obviously has more to do with what took place during the recent World Cup qualifying cycle, the protest has added fuel. A number of players have taken to wearing “Sack the CSA” shirts in public. Tomasz Radzinski even wore one on the field following Canada’s final qualifier in Edmonton.

From the perspective of someone whose conception of the Canadian soccer community is a small, tight-knit community limited to one or two websites, this is a big deal. The outrage surrounding the CSA had never left the confines of this small group. Now it’s out there. Whether there is change or not, the CSA can no longer operate as they do in private. People know about it. It’s talked about. When it comes to incompetent organizations, the CSA is now regarded right there beside the likes of MLSE, where they should be. That alone is an achievement.

There’s also another angle to this, and it goes beyond trying to enact change. That is, simply having a voice. Like I said, concern over the CSA has historically been limited to a dusty corner of the internet. To have the opportunity to air these grievances publically is an end in its own, regardless of whether anything comes of it.

“Because MLS is the beautiful, new, hip, trendy sport that nobody outside of its nerdy faithful watches, whilst baseball is actually popular, and thus the games are filled with comformists who must be stereotyped.”

How do you account for the fact that the disturbances at the Jays’ opener garnered little response, while the TFC affair attracted a shit-storm of exaggeration, moralizing, and condemnation, mostly from individuals who were not in Columbus and have no real knowledge of what went down? If the media is slanted any which way, it’s definitely in the favour of baseball. The hyperbole has been so severe that The Star today was forced to issue a retraction on statements made in one column basically slandering TFC fans with lies and disinformation.

And we’re all nerds, Tyler. Me for following TFC. You for following the Fronts. Neate for following Carleton and Queens. That’s why we’re here. No shame.

But if we’re talking about the common sports fan, I do see a lot of TFC gear being worn out on the streets of Toronto, much more than the Marlies, more than the Argos, and nearly on par with the Raptors and Jays. And I do think this is telling. Flawed, maybe. But no more than going by TV ratings. TFC has little to no following outside of Toronto. But this hardly matters. My ambition was never to see TFC grow as a Canadian brand. If fans take to the team in other areas of the country, then great. But what’s important is that the club has a strong profile in the city, and I believe it’s achieved that.

"I'll admit that that's not exactly a fair comparison because the Jays are at the highest level of their sport, and MLS is nothing close to that; but listening to the Toronto media you wouldn't know that."

Can you give me an example of the media misrepresenting the MLS product? For those who attempt to deal with the question (Stephen Brunt, for instance), the answer is typically the same: MLS is a quality, if not world-class, product that is enjoyed within an understanding of its place in the soccer world, that being a developmental league.

I know you disagree with this, although I am curious as to what you expect the press to say. I get the impression you won't be happy until every piece on TFC is prefaced by a note warning the reader/viewer that the what they are about read/hear about is a vastly inferior product, on par with Single A Hockey, or Grade 8 Phys Ed. scrimmage basketball.

You don't think much of the MLS? Fine. We get it. Most people obviously disagree. Just drop it.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the overwhelming majority of Blue Jay fans are very well behaved....especially the ones dressed as blue seats!